Have you ever thought, “Why do I smell like this”? Like, you are driving in the bus, and you think the smell is coming from someone else, but it actually comes from you? And you wonder if you smell, and that smell is not so great? Well, you are not the only one. Body odor is something that can happen to all of us.
What exactly is body odor?
Body odor is the unpleasant smell our bodies give when bacteria that live on the skin break down sweat into acids. Some classify as the smell of bacteria growing on the body. However, it is actually the result of bacteria breaking down protein into acids.
Body odor becomes more and more evident if you do not take measures to prevent it. And sometimes, conditions like obesity can cause body odor. Sweating too much, having hyperhidrosis, eating spicy foods, taking medications, and having diabetes are all risk factors.
And while sweat is odorless, rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of sweat can break sweat down into acids that cause an unpleasant smell.
Body odor can appear anywhere on the body, including your feet, groin, genitals, belly button, pubic hair, armpits, anus, behind the ears, and any part of your skin.
What causes body odor?
As said previously, body odor is caused by bacteria breaking down sweat into acids. It is linked to the apocrine glands, where the most odor comes from.
The apocrine glands are located in the breasts, genital area, armpits, eyelids, and ear. They have a different function in each part. For example, in the breasts, they are responsible for secreting fat droplets into breast milk. On the other hand, in the ears, they form earwax. Glands in the skin are sweat glands.
How to prevent and get rid of body odor?
There is no cure-all for body odor. It is all about practicing good hygiene habits and making sure you are leading a healthy life. Let’s talk about some changes you can implement.
Keep yourself clean
Shower at least once per day to wash off the sweat and other impurities. This includes bacteria on the skin. As we said before, sweat is odorless, but in combination with bacteria, it can cause an unpleasant smell.
When it comes to showering, you can take the next step by showing with antibacterial soap. Pay special attention to the areas where you tend to sweat.
Keep yourself dry
Immediately after a shower, make sure to pat yourself dry with a clean towel. Always use clean towels, and try to avoid over-rubbing and over-scrubbing. Vigorous rubbing the skin can cause irritation, leading to excessive oil production, clogging of pores, and eventually acne. And that is another issue you want to avoid.
Just make sure you dry. Moist areas are perfect for bacteria growth and breeding. On the other hand, bacteria cannot prosper in dry areas.
The third step in keeping yourself odor-free is applying strong antiperspirant. Just do not apply it while you are wet. Once you are completely dry, apply antiperspirant to keep sweat at bay. Some of these products double up as deodorants. Use them two times per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening.
Keep your clothes clean
Dirty clothes are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Wash your sweaty clothes, or at least air dry them to prevent bacteria buildup. Fresh clothes keep the body odor down.
And make sure to change socks and underwear often. You can also try using deodorant powders in your shoes.
Wear breathable clothes
Wearing breathable clothes, especially an undershirt is a great way to prevent body odor. The undershirt will absorb the sweat, contain moisture, and reduce body odor. Breathable clothes also allow sweat to leave your body.
What are some of the breathable fabrics you could dry? For starters, cotton clothes. Avoid synthetic materials like polyester that are just ideal for bacteria.
Avoid odor-causing foods
Yes, there are foods that can cause odor. What you eat affects your entire body. And that includes body odor as well. Certain foods can make you sweat more, for example, spicy foods. Hot peppers and other spicy foods also lead to body odor.
Foods like garlic, onions, and similar can carry the aroma in the sweat. Caffeine and alcohol will make you sweat more, and make your sweat more smelly.
With that in mind, try to avoid the above-mentioned foods, as well as spices that can release gases.
Drink more water
Making yourself a hydration station is a nice way to prevent and treat body odor. Always remind yourself to drink more water. Hydration is crucial for overall health. Drinking water reduces body odor greatly.
Natural remedies for body odor
If you want to take care of body odor quickly, there are a few natural remedies you can try. Here are three that are tested and proven.
Probiotics improve the health of your gut, and they inhibit bad bacteria. Maintaining a healthy balance of probiotics in your body is a great way to avoid body odor. And you can find a lot of probiotics in foods like yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables.
Apple cider vinegar remedy
This is one of the most common remedies for body odor. The antiseptic properties of apple cider vinegar will kill off any bacteria, and balance the pH value of your skin. The result is an odor-free body. Wash the areas you are more prone to sweating and odor with apple cider vinegar in the shower. Apply to the armpits and any other odor-prone area. Rinse off with cool water. Repeat daily.
Lemon and baking soda paste
Baking soda can work on its own, but with lemon, you also get a nice citrusy and fresh smell. These two ingredients can combat bacteria. Mix equal amounts of lemon and baking soda, and then apply to the armpits. Wait for a couple of minutes, and then rinse in the shower.
Should you see a doctor?
In most cases, body odor is nothing to stress about. However, if antiperspirants, home remedies, deodorants, and lifestyle changes are not helping, you should talk to a doctor.
There are a couple of underlying medical conditions that can cause body odor. And your doctor will prescribe you stronger treatment to combat it.
Two conditions that can affect body odor are diabetes and skin infections.